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Record Annual Increase in Carbon Dioxide Observed at Mauna Loa by NOAA

2016-04-13

The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’sMauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research.

In another first, 2015 was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 ppm, said 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.”

Levels of the greenhouse gas were independently measured by NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory and by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In February 2016, the average global atmospheric CO2 level stood at 402.59 ppm. Prior to 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm.

This web post was made on March 9, almost a month ago, and yet there has been little publicity about this increase in carbon dioxide concentrations– over three parts per million in a year– that dwarfed the usual increase of one part per million per year.

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