According to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, April 2019 saw the highest monthly average of CO2 on Earth in recorded history – 410 PPM. Additionally, they relate that 415 PPM of CO2 was recorded Sunday in Hawaii, which is the highest amount of CO2 ever recorded since the first humans have existed.
April monthly average exceeds 410 parts per million for the first time in recorded history.
The average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 410.31 parts per million (ppm) for the month of April, according to the Keeling Curve measurement series made at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
This marks the first time in the history of the Mauna Loa record that a monthly average has exceeded 410 parts per million. This also represents a 30-percent increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the global atmosphere since the Keeling Curve began in 1958. In March, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego observed the 60th anniversary of the data series, the first measurements of which were 315 ppm.
The Keeling Curve draws its name from its creator and the shape of its dataset, a seasonally seesawing trend of steadily rising CO2 readings that exceeded 400 ppm in air for the first time in human history in 2013. Prior to the onset of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels had fluctuated over the millennia but had never exceeded 300 ppm at any point in the last 800,000 years.
Carbon dioxide is called a greenhouse gas for its ability to trap solar radiation and keep it confined to the atmosphere. It is the most prevalent among all greenhouse gases produced by human activities, attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.
The Scripps CO2 Program is directed by geochemist Ralph Keeling,the son of the late Keeling Curve creator Charles David Keeling
“We keep burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide keeps building up in the air,” said Ralph Keeling. “It’s essentially as simple as that.”
There is no doubt that there is a direct link between CO2 emissions created by fossil fuels and CO2 buildup in the atmousphere:
The rise in CO2 is unambiguously caused by human activity, principally fossil-fuel burning. This is clear from the numbers: We know how much fossil fuel is converted into CO2 each year and emitted into the atmosphere. The CO2 doesn’t all stay there because some enters the ocean and some is taken up by photosynthesis, which ends up in land plants and various types of biomatter.
Carbon atoms are not created or destroyed in any of these processes, so the total fossil-fuel emission to date must equal the combined increases in these other reservoirs. We can document large carbon increases in all these reservoirs. In the atmosphere, it’s especially easy, because the atmosphere is quite well mixed. As it happens, about 57 percent of the emissions have remained in the air.
It’s true that atmospheric CO2 has almost certainly been higher than present in Earth’s distant past, many millions of years ago. But because fossil-fuel burning is not natural, the recent carbon increases in the atmosphere, oceans, and land biosphere cannot be natural either. And you are correct that even though the levels of CO2 in the air may not be unprecedented, the pace of rise probably is. Few if any natural processes can release fossil carbon into the atmosphere as fast as we humans are doing it now via the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.
This graph shows the reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 back 800,000 years. At no point in this period were levels as high or increasing as fast. No surprise because it’s only recently that we humans have been burning billions of tons of fossil carbon each year.
The most disturbing aspect is that people can change this by simply limiting their fossil fuel based activities. Stop unneeded fossil fuel based activity.
Rationing fuel would solve this problem over night.