It's getting hot in here.

The concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has reached a record high, according to the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin released by the World Meteorological Organization.

According to the WMO, Carbon Dioxide levels increased more between 2012 and 2013 than any other years since 1984, showing that the countries in the world aren't doing enough to curb carbon production. The Bulletin also states that between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34 percent increase the warming effect changing our climate. In 2013, concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere was 142 percent of 1750, before the industrial revolution. Methane and nitrous oxide have also increased, 253 percent and 121 percent respectively.

"We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board. We are running out of time."

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin explains that a quarter of the total emissions are taken up by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere, reducing the amount of CO2 that is trapped in the atmosphere. But this has resulted in a high rate of ocean acidification that is unprecedented for the last 300 million years, according to a report.

"Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for many hundreds of years and in the ocean for even longer. Past, present and future CO2 emissions will have a cumulative impact on both global warming and ocean acidification. The laws of physics are non-negotiable," said Mr Jarraud.

According to the WMO, the quantity of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere reached 396.0 parts per million in 2013. Concentrations of CO2 have seasonal and regional fluctuations, but the global average CO2 concentration will cross the symbolic 400 parts per million threshold in 2015 or 2016.

Methane is another concern, with approximately 40 percent of methane emitted into the atmosphere by natural sources and about 60 percent from human activities, such as cattle breeding, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning. Methane reached a new high of about 1824 parts per billion in 2013. Likewise, nitrous oxide concentrations have been increasing to about 325.9 parts per billion. Methane is contributing to the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer that deflects the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

On September 23, the UN Climate Summit will be held in New York City. It is the start of the discussion process for a new climate change agreement. The 2015 Climate Change Summit will take place for two weeks in Paris, starting November 30, 2015. The goal of the summit is to produce an international agreement that will reduce carbon gas emissions and reduce the rate of global warming.

Photo: Steven Buss 

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