Anorak News | Man did pretty well during the last Carbon dioxide peak of 400 parts per million

Man did pretty well during the last Carbon dioxide peak of 400 parts per million

by | 12th, May 2013

HOW bad is the carbon peak? The BBC:

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark.

Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time.

The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958.

The Washington Post:

…scientists say it may have been 10 million years ago that Earth last encountered this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The first modern humans only appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago.

The Age says it’s unprecedented:

The planet has set a significant – and unwelcome – landmark with the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passing 400 parts per million for the first time in more than 3 million years

“Humanity has never been here before,” John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, said in a statement. “We are in dangerous and uncharted territory, with little time to ensure a safe and sustainable future.”

Buzzfeed is less certain:

Carbon Levels Highest Since Mammoths Roamed The Earth

That was 3,700 years ago. The BBC site says man hunted the mammoth.

The Guardian sees the apocalypse:

Earth has not had 400ppm of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere for millions of years. When it did, the Arctic was ice-free and sea levels were 40 metres higher. Our species has therefore never lived in a world that will be as hot as the one we are creating for our children and grandchildren. Civilisation rests on the happy fact that since the last ice age, the planet’s climate has been cool and stable, giving ancient farmers a chance to experiment with the growing of grasses and plants and so create the crops that now sustain billions of humans. All that is set to change, as temperatures rise, deserts extend and life-sustaining weather patterns are disrupted. Hundreds of millions of people would then be rendered homeless.

British atmospheric physicist Prof Joanna Haigh is a calm voice:

“In itself, the value 400ppm of CO2 has no particular significance for the physics of the climate system: concentration levels have been in the 300s for so long and now we’ve passed the 400 mark. However, this does give us the chance to mark the ongoing increase in CO2 concentration and talk about why it’s a problem for the climate.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 12th, May 2013 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink