Over the past 800,000 years right up until the early 20th century, CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere have never exceeded 300 ppm. But on a fateful day in September 2016, atmospheric CO2 reached 400PPM.
Just before the beginning of the industrial revolution, the concentration of CO2 was about 275ppm in the atmosphere. As the industrial revolution began, the use of fossil fuels added plenty of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The concentration increased by about 40%. Half of the CO2 is used by vegetation, soils, and oceans; the other half remains in the atmosphere.
Pieter Tans, NOAA’s chief greenhouse gas scientist said that it is both ‘daunting and disturbing.’ One of the problems of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that even if we stop burning fossil fuels, the CO2 concentrations would remain in the atmosphere for years. 400 ppm means CO2 levels are increasing faster than ever before in recorded history.
Generally, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increased by 0.7% per year. But in the last 5 decades, the world’s population has doubled, the use of fossil fuels have increased manifold and CO2 concentrations increases at 2.1% per year. Human activities add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than natural processes can absorb. That means the net amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide will never decrease.
The result of this increased concentration of CO2 is that the global temperatures have gone up by 4 degrees. This is leading to the melting of the polar ice caps. Hence the global sea levels are rising; leading to increased floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.
This is also destroying many wetlands and natural ecosystems. It is in the form of a chain reaction. It is disturbing the entire ecological balance. This rise in CO2 is an indication of the dangerous climatic change that is to happen in the coming future.
Atmospheric CO2 reaches 400PPM at the Mauna Loa, Observatory, Hawaii
With the human population increasing and with it the use of fossil fuels. Global climate, rainfall patterns, pollution, vegetation, and the entire natural balance is getting disturbed. It is the time that we realize and take active steps to protect mother earth. Unless we come forward and stop using fossil fuels, reduce emissions and stop adding CO2 from our industries, the situation will only worsen.