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Thu Jun 6, 2024, 09:48 PM Jun 6

NOAA: During a year of extremes, carbon dioxide levels surge faster than ever

During a year of extremes, carbon dioxide levels surge faster than ever
The two-year increase in Keeling Curve peak is the largest on record

June 6, 2024 — Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than ever — accelerating on a steep rise to levels far above any experienced during human existence, scientists from NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego announced today.

Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory by NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory surged to a seasonal peak of just under 427 parts per million (426.90 ppm) in May, when CO2 reaches its highest level in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s an increase of 2.9 ppm over May 2023 and the 5th-largest annual growth in NOAA’s 50-year record. When combined with 2023’s increase of 3.0 ppm, the period from 2022 to 2024 has seen the largest two-year jump in the May peak in the NOAA record.

CO2 measurements sending ominous signs
Scientists at Scripps, the organization that initiated CO2 monitoring at Mauna Loa in 1958 and maintains an independent record, calculated a May monthly average of 426.7 ppm for 2024, an increase of 2.92 ppm over May 2023’s measurement of 423.78 ppm. For Scripps, the two-year jump tied a previous record set in 2020.

From January through April, NOAA and Scripps scientists said CO2 concentrations increased more rapidly than they have in the first four months of any other year. The surge has come even as one highly regarded international report has found that fossil fuel emissions, the main driver of climate change, have plateaued in recent years.

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