About all that carbon dioxide we've been spewing into the atmosphere - yeah, it's worse than we thought. That seems to be the main take-away message of a new study by an international team of researchers that found that current carbon dioxide production levels have been far exceeding the already pessimistic estimates being used by models to predict future climate trends.
A booming world economy has caused atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to rise by a whopping 1.93 ppm a year - the fastest rate of increase since monitoring began in 1959. Just to give some context, carbon dioxide concentrations rose by an average of 1.58 ppm during the 1980s and an average of 1.49 ppm during the 1990s (hardly quiescent decades, economically-speaking)."[The paper presents] a consistent picture of the increasing accumulation of atmospheric CO2 and, hence, the increasing urgency to do something about it. Just because the last 7 years have shown accelerating trends does not mean that the next 7 or 50 or 100 will be the same. But they are what they are, and we need to pay attention," said S. Randy Kawa, a physical scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
As Gregg Marland, the study's co-author, noted during a recent interview, it "will be important to keep watch over the next few years to see if the changing trend is a continuing one." Given our past track record, there is unfortunately little reason to expect that trend to stop any time soon.
Via ::ScienceNOW: Planet's CO2 Production Surges (news website)
See also: ::Oceans No Longer as Effective at Storing Carbon Dioxide, ::Never Mind Future Temperature Increases: CO2 Emissions Deserve EPA's Attention NOW
Image courtesy of cjohnson7 via flickr