Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has now reached 417 parts per million, a 50% increase since people began burning fossil fuels on a large scale during the industrial revolution.
That’s the gloomy conclusion reached in a new report from the Met Office, which suggests measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) in Hawaii show that carbon dioxide concentrations are already above that level.
MLO is an atmospheric baseline station that measures atmospheric components such as methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide.
The analysis shows that current carbon measurements make 2021 the first year on record to see carbon dioxide levels rise more than 50% above the average recorded in the period between 1750-1800 for more than a few days at a time.
The national meteorological service expects that next year, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be even higher than that and will continue to rise.
Professor Richard Betts MBE, Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office, said: Humans began burning fossil fuels at large scales at the end of the eighteenth century, and it took about 200 years for the atmosphere to see a 25% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, but only another 35 years to reach this year’s sorry milestone of a 50% increase.”