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Carbon Dioxide Reaches 400ppm Across the Globe

June 17, 2016
Environmental Protection

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week that CO2 levels at their Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station reached 400ppm. It marks the first time that all monitoring stations across the globe have crossed the milestone. The first reading above the 400ppm limit was made in May 2013 at the Mauna Loa station in Hawaii but because of the way the gas moves around the atmosphere it has taken just over three years for the rest of the planet to register the mark.

The majority of the world’s population lives in the northern hemisphere which explains why CO2 readings are always higher in the region. “The increase of carbon dioxide is everywhere, even as far away as you can get from civilization”, Pieter Tans, a carbon-monitoring scientist at the Environmental Science Research Laboratory, told The Guardian. “If you emit carbon dioxide in New York, some fraction of it will be in the South Pole next year. Just because we have an agreement doesn’t mean the problem (of climate change) is solved.”

Ice core samples from Antarctica show that CO2 concentrations are now higher than at any time in the past 800,000 years. Climate records compiled using seafloor sediment suggest its’ been at least four million years since levels were as high. It is unlikely levels will drop below 400ppm anytime in the foreseeable future.

The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is an important global carbon sink which absorbs large amounts of CO2. Scientists believe that any major variations in the area could indicate a big change in the global carbon cycle.