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Carbon Dioxide Forecast: Lifetime of Elevated Levels

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By    |   Tuesday, 14 Jun 2016 11:38 AM

A carbon dioxide forecast in a new study predicts the concentration of greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere will never again fall much below current levels above 400 parts per million – at least in our lifetime, reported the Washington Post.

The study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change said the milestone is continued evidence of the gases' impact on the Earth. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere before the industrial age was 280 parts per million, noted the Post.

The researchers said the powerful 2015-2016 El Nino weather system has pushed concentrations of carbon dioxide upward more than usual and will likely keep the concentration above 400 parts per million into September.

"In the longer term, a reduction in (carbon dioxide) concentration would require substantial and sustained cuts in anthropogenic emissions to near zero," said the study's authors.

The researchers said carbon dioxide measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii are projected to climb by a record 3.1 parts per million this year, from an annual average of 2.1 parts per million, because of the cyclical El Niño weather event in the Pacific, reported The Guardian.

Reaching the 400 parts per million milestone is more psychological and is not expected to change anything other than noting the long-term carbon dioxide increase, suggested The Guardian.

"Once you have passed that barrier, it takes a long time for CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere by natural processes," said Richard Betts, of the Met's Hadley Centre and Exeter University.

"Even if we cut emissions, we wouldn't see concentrations coming down for a long time, so we have said goodbye to measurements below 400 ppm at Mauna Loa."

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A carbon dioxide forecast in a new study predicts the concentration of greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere will never again fall much below current levels above 400 parts per million – at least in our lifetime.
carbon dioxide, forecast, elevated, levels
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2016-38-14
Tuesday, 14 Jun 2016 11:38 AM
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