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CO2 Emissions

Published on March 16th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


Largest Increase In CO2 Levels In 56 Years Happened In 2015

March 16th, 2016 by  

The largest increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels happened in 2015, when it jumped by 3.05 parts per million, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Mauna Loa Observatory is a premier atmospheric research facility that has been continuously monitoring and collecting data related to atmospheric change since the 1950’s.

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported the unprecedented spike in CO2 levels this week, which was the largest year-to-year increase ever observed in the 56 years of recording and research done at the station. To make matters worse, in another first, 2015 was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 parts per million (ppm), according to Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

“Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years,” Tans said. “It’s explosive compared to natural processes.”

The figures paint a dramatic tale: In February 2016, the average global atmospheric CO2 level was 402.59 ppm. Prior to the year 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged around 280 ppm. Scientific research has concluded that the last time the Earth experienced such a sustained CO2 increase was between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago — and even then, CO2 levels only increased by 80 ppm. Today’s rate of increase is 200 times faster.

The figures determined by the Mauna Loa Observatory were also independently measured by NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California.

According to NOAA, despite the scary growth trends, this current jump in CO2 levels “is partially due to the current El Niño weather pattern,” mirrored by the last previous big increase which occurred in 1998, and was also a strong El Niño year.

Quoted by Climate Central, Michael Mann, an atmospheric science professor and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said that the CO2 milestone shouldn’t be over-interpreted.

“This spike is almost certainly due in substantial part to the ongoing El Niño event, which is a fleeting effect that increases carbon dioxide concentrations temporarily,” Mann said. “Carbon dioxide concentrations are a lagging indicator, and they don’t accurately reflect recent trends in the more important variable — our actual carbon emissions.”

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

  • Jason


  • JohnG123

    If you want to know what controls the weather on Earth, look up in the sky, it is called the Sun.

    There is no man made global warning, it is the height of human arrogance to suggest otherwise and the general lack of understanding the scale and size of the Sun. The only thing that seems to rival the size of the Sun is the global warming proponents ego, it is blinding.

    If you recall there was an Ice age 12000 years age, or glacial period.
    The last glaciation centered on the huge ice sheets called ,the Laurentide Ice Sheet , was a massive sheet of ice that covered millions of square miles, including most of Canada and a large portion of the northern United States. It went away without any help from man. It was the Sun that sent the ice away.

    You could line up 109 Earths across the face of the sun. About 1.3 million Earths could fit inside the sun. The sun contains 99.8 percent of the mass of the entire solar system. The mass of the sun is about 333,000 times the mass of the Earth, but do not let the facts get in the way. The little humans can take on the sun with their barbecues grills and wood burning stoves. The fact is the earth has its own self adjusting system, we call it today’s weather and the oceans. Satellite data has show no change in the overall average earth temperature.The newest and best way to determine global temperature is to use satellites to measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, giving the Earth a uniform global sweep, oceans included, with no cities to create a false warming bias.

    The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has varied a great deal over time. Sometimes it has been lower than now and sometimes it has been much higher than now. It is also true that it has been both a lot hotter and lot colder at various time in the past. There is no evidence that CO2 has caused the temperature to change in the past. All studies of temperature and CO2 levels in the past show that it is the temperature changing which changes the CO2 level and not the other way round.

    • Carl Raymond S

      I invite readers to google the phrase (include the quotes):
      “There is no evidence that CO2 has caused the temperature to change in the past” from JohnG123’s blurb above.
      It’s a cut-and-paste false argument that John has wasted readers time with at least 5 times previously.

    • vensonata

      Uh, John, I thought I told you to wait in the truck.

      • Bob_Wallace

        John caught the Denier Train to the Wilderness of Delusion in which he is free to wander to his heart’s content.

        • vensonata

          Yes, when John and I were driving over to Cleantechnica in the truck, John farted, and then blamed it on the sun. He thought that was clever but I saw through it.

  • Carl Raymond S

    In Australia, we have a weekly political chat show on the national broadcaster called “Q & A”. On Monday, it featured an all scientist panel.

    Australia’s Chief Scientist (Govt. appointed) announced the above fact, but prefixed it with “Despite all the efforts we’ve made in solar and wind”.

    I almost screamed at the TV: “Effort? EFFORT? We haven’t made any f**king effort. Australia has spent the last 25 years protecting the coal industry – by undermining the Kyoto treaty, vilifying a carbon tax and questioning the scientific consensus.”

    I think what he meant to say was “It’s a shame we didn’t start making an effort three decades ago”.

  • Per Strandberg

    caused by outgassing from the warm Pacific Ocean surface caused by a strong El
    Niño which is now fading and which is going to be replaced by a strong La Niña
    at the end of this year. Nothing to do with anthropogenic CO2.

  • Harry Johnson

    While the world is distracted by an orangutan in a suit, each passing month now proves an alarming acceleration toward climate catastrophe.

  • eveee

    Careful. We have been messing up carbon for a long time and this is bad, true. But El Nino and other weather factors have large impacts on carbon in the atmosphere.
    The El Nino sort of uncorks previous sins.

  • kvleeuwen

    I do not question the results, but I do wonder why the measurements are made on an active volcano and near an erupting one – known sources of large amounts of CO2. How do the scientists compensate for that (or why is that not needed)?

    • Mike Risk

      20ms on Wikipedia produces the answers you asked for-but my guess is, you didn’t really want answers, you wanted to sow doubt and discord.

      • kvleeuwen

        Thank you for your thoughtful response. A LMGTFY link is rude, but at least helpful.
        Your reply does not even include that.
        Of course, insulting a stranger is easier than checking his post history.
        Some answers have finally penetrated my search bubble and I will update my post with answers later, OK?

      • Dragon

        Don’t discourage people from asking questions. I see nothing in his language to imply he’s trying to sow doubt. He was just wondering. Wondering is a good thing and not enough people do it. Since he asked and answered his own question, we now have that answer here for anyone else who might wonder the same thing. Some people might wonder and decide not to go find an actual answer, instead leaving a seed of doubt. Such is the way of the denialist.

    • eveee

      Skeptical Science. Volcanos are there, but its a blip by comparison.

      Humans emit 100 times the CO2 of volcanos.

      They mostly cause short term disturbances. They have both cooling and warming effects. Carbon is long term, aerosols are short term. Short term cooling. Long term warming.

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