Atmospheric CO2 Reached A Record High of 400 PPM


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The news arrived on Friday, May 9, 2013, for the first time since measurements began in 1958, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and a separate team of scientists at  Scripps Institution of Oceanography later also confirmed that the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere hit the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million, up from about 280 (the level it was at for thousands of years prior to Industrial Revolution).

An instrument near the summit of Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa Observatory from air

in Hawaii has recorded a long-awaited climate milestone: the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there has exceeded 400 ppm (parts per million) for the first time in 55 years of measurement (and probably more than 3 million years of Earth history). Below, you will find parts from National Geographic News:

The last time the concentration of Earth’s main greenhouse gas reached this mark, horses and camels lived in the high Arctic. Seas were at least 30 feet higher—at a level that today would inundate major cities around the world.


The planet was about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer. But the Earth then was in the final stage of a prolonged greenhouse epoch, and CO2 concentrations were on their way down. This time, 400 ppm is a milepost on a far more rapid uphill climb toward an uncertain climate future.

Leader of the Scripps team is Ralph Keeling, son of the late Charles David Keeling who started the Mauna Loa measurements in 1958. Since then the “Keeling curve,”

The Keeling Curve: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa Observatory

showing the steady climb in CO2 levels caused primarily by burning fossil fuels, has become an icon of climate change. When Charles David Keeling started at Mauna Loa, the CO2 level was at 315 ppm. The level reached 382 when he died in June 2005. His son Ralph Keeling continued the vigil, despite periodic potential threat of funding cut, because his father had passed onto him a “faith that the world could be made better by devotion to just causes.” Now his son and the NOAA team have taken over a measurement that captures (more than any other single number), the extent to which we are changing the world. Below, is a video clip on Keeling Curve:

I hope this post (with the video) will have motivated you to take part in assisting with our transition toward the renewable energy age. Join us by signing the petition for Solar-FIT For Sunshine State and start a petition for Solar-FIT for your state/country if you are not a resident of Florida (and do not reside in a place where Solar-FIT is already implemented)….for solar and/or renewable energy will ultimately be the solution in bringing down our atmospheric CO2, providing cleaner, healthier environment,  and freeing us from the finite world of fossil fuel and proclivity toward international conflicts.

~Let’s respond to Charles David Keeling’s and Ralph Keeling’s vigil by spreading the sunshine across our globe~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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One Response to “Atmospheric CO2 Reached A Record High of 400 PPM”

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