Watch The Planet Breathe

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

It seems to confound logic – despite CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels and industry remaining at a constant level, the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere has experienced a record-breaking increase. This might lead you to believe that the measurement of CO₂ emissions is wrong or that the data is incorrect. But as Senior Researcher at Cicero, Glen Peters, has shown, the fact that CO₂ emissions have remained constant despite the increase in concentration is not actually an incongruity.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the overall CO₂ level in the atmosphere — the cycle of the seasons, volcanic activity, emissions, and the El Niño Southern Oscillation. In years where there is strong El Niño conditions there tends to be more droughts in important forested areas. This then reduces the productivity of the forests, which in turn affects their ability to absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere. With the conditions being so dry, it also runs the risk of wildfires in forests, emitting even more CO₂ into the atmosphere. In 2015/2016 there was a big El Niño, which lead to a year of record increase in CO₂ concentration.

To see the interplay between CO₂ Emissions, CO₂ Concentration and the El Niño Southern Oscillation, check out this great gif. It shows the three in action between 1980 and 2016.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica TV Video

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

The Beam

The Beam Magazine is an independent climate solutions and climate action magazine. It tells about the most exciting solutions, makes a concrete contribution to eliminating climate injustices and preserving this planet for all of us in its diversity and beauty. Our cross-country team of editors works with a network of 150 local journalists in 50 countries talking to change makers and communities. THE BEAM is published in Berlin and distributed in nearly 1,000 publicly accessible locations, to companies, organizations and individuals in 40 countries across the world powered by FairPlanet.

The Beam has 481 posts and counting. See all posts by The Beam