- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
- George Zimmerman’s girlfriend flips on assault: Let ‘my boyfriend’ go
- Lululemon Athletica chairman quits after firestorm over his fat-thighs comment
- CBS’ beleaguered Lara Logan gets a cheerleader — Dan Rather
- Jesus tops list as most significant figure in history; Mohammed at 4th
C02 seen at record-high levels
MAUNA LOA OBSERVATORY, Hawaii (AP) — Carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, has reached record-high levels in the atmosphere after increasing at an accelerated pace during the past year, say scientists monitoring the sky from atop a Hawaiian volcano.
The reason for the faster buildup of the most important of the greenhouse gases will require further analysis, according to the U.S. government experts.
“But the big picture is that CO2 is continuing to go up,” said Russell Schnell, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate monitoring laboratory in Boulder, Colo., which operates the Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawaii.
Carbon dioxide, mostly from the burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was traced to greenhouse gases.
The climatologists forecast continued temperature increases that will disrupt the climate, cause seas to rise and lead to other unpredictable consequences — unpredictable in part because of uncertainties in computer modeling of future climate.
Before the industrial age and extensive use of fossil fuels, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stood at 280 parts per million, scientists have determined.
Average readings at the 11,141-foot Mauna Loa Observatory, where carbon dioxide density peaks each northern winter, hovered around 379 parts per million on Friday, compared with about 376 a year ago.
That year-to-year increase of about 3 parts per million is considerably higher than the average annual increase of 1.8 parts per million during the past decade, and markedly more accelerated than the 1-part-per-million annual increase recorded a half-century ago, when observations were first made here.
Asked to explain the stepped-up rate, climatologists were cautious, saying data needed to be further evaluated. But Asia immediately sprang to mind.
“China is taking off economically and burning a lot of fuel. India, too,” said Pieter Tans, a prominent carbon-cycle expert at NOAA’s Boulder lab.
Another leading climatologist, Ralph Keeling, whose father, Charles D. Keeling, developed methods for measuring carbon dioxide, noted that the rate “does fluctuate up and down a bit,” and said it was too early to reach conclusions.
But he added: “People are worried about ‘feedbacks.’ We are moving into a warmer world.”
He explained that warming itself releases carbon dioxide from the ocean and soil. By raising the gas level in the atmosphere, that in turn could increase warming in a “positive feedback,” said Mr. Keeling of San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that, if unchecked, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by 2100 will range from 650 to 970 parts per million. As a result, the panel estimates, the average global temperature would probably rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.7 and 10.4 degrees F) between 1990 and 2100.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- George Zimmermans girlfriend flips on assault: Let my boyfriend go
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow