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Atmospheric CO2 Will Reach an Alarming High in 2021, Forecasts Suggest

Mar, 2021

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A recent forecast from the MET Office in the U.K. suggests that the concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is reaching an alarming 50% increase since the pre-industrial era.

The carbon dioxide concentration in Earth’s atmosphere is expected to pass a dangerous threshold in 2021 and exceed 417 ppm (parts per million). This indicates a 50% rise since the industrial revolution that began in the 18th century. The forecast was made by the Met Office which is the United Kingdom’s national weather service. The forecast was made by collecting data from the Mauna Loa Observatory based in Hawaii. Despite the slight dip in greenhouse emissions across the globe in 2020, the La Niña event (a weather pattern occurring in the Pacific Ocean) fell short of controlling the previous increase in global carbon emissions.

According to the head of the climate impacts group at the MET Office, carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for a prolonged period and emissions from every year are added to the existing CO2 content which causes it to keep increasing. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere usually have a pattern, in which they peak during May, fall over the following months of summer, and then rise again from September. The total carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 had dropped by 7% compared to previous years, however they have once again surged to pre-pandemic levels, the Met Office reported.

However, thanks to carbon stored in tropical rainforests, the La Niña event is projected to slow down the rate of increase in CO2 levels. But this may not be enough to prevent the alarming milestone in 2021. According to experts, a lot needs to be done to reverse this trend and slow the rise of atmospheric CO2 levels. Global emissions will have to be brought down to net zero if we are trying to halt this dangerous rise. According to experts, this needs to be done over the course of the next 30 years or less and limit the global warming to 1.5 °C.

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