The new era of global climate change

Nov 04, 2016 | written by:

On February a new sad record was achieved: experts were already sure that 2016 would have been the warmest year ever. Over the past few days, the WMO, World Meteorological Organization, announced that we definitely entered a new era of global climate change communicating the new data on the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: a value of 400 (ppm) globally.

The threshold of 400 (ppm), 400 molecules of CO2 per million molecules of the atmosphere, had already been achieved in 2015 after a period of equilibrium lasted two years. But what led to enshrine a new era for the weather is the extension of the phenomenon: all the world's regions are involved, and these levels will not go down for many generations to come.

It is not only the CO2 to be increased in the atmosphere, but also other gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which reached the highest values ever recorded. In the case of methane, levels exceed 2.5 times those of the pre-industrial period, the carbon dioxide is greater than 1.4 times, while the nitrous oxide of 1.2 times. In addition, between 1990 and 2015 there was an increase of 37% of the radioactive effects of the warming caused by a buildup of substances derived from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities.

According to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, most of the new recorded levels would be caused by the phenomenon El Niño that generated peaks of drought in some tropical areas preventing the growth of vegetation that can absorb carbon dioxide. The dry weather has also led to the outbreak of fires which in turn have resulted in extraordinary emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere. Yet the WMO warns that although El Niño has disappeared, climate change remain and are mainly due to man.

The Secretary-General of WMO Petteri Taalas praised the recent agreement reached to amend the Montreal Protocol and phase out hydrofluorocarbons, remembering how the Paris Agreement of 2015 marked a new era of optimism and concrete actions addressed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, but to see the benefits from green technologies, from the investment race in renewable energy and from international agreements, we’ll have to wait years: the carbon dioxide - by its nature - remains in the atmosphere for thousands years, and even longer in the oceans.


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