The level of carbon dioxide on Earth has hit the highest level since recording began.
That’s according to data from the Hawaiian Mauna Loa Observatory, revealing that for the first time, monthly carbon dioxide levels have peaked at 420 parts per million (ppm).
The researchers have revealed that there is normally more carbon in the atmosphere during the latter spring months, as plants grow and bloom, releasing more of the gas.
However, the levels that have been reached this year are certainly being exacerbated by human activity and chiefly the burning of fossil fuels.
Just two decades ago, the highest amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for a month was 375ppm, with this level at 317ppm when data collection began in 1958.
Mauna Loa has been collating carbon data for the longest period in the world – and using these new numbers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has revealed that carbon dioxide is currently increasing 100 times faster than during periods of history that saw more natural increases in the gas.
This increase in carbon dioxide is in turn heating the planet, as less heat can escape, as it is trapped and stored by the gas.
The increase is not specific to carbon dioxide, with nitrous oxide jumping up to 335 parts per billion (ppb), up from 316ppb two decades ago – and methane hitting 1908ppb, up from 1640ppb in the 1980s.