Scientists have discovered that ever since carbon dioxide (CO2) observations in 1958 were tracked, it will be the first time that the monthly global average concentration of CO2 has exceeded 400 parts per million.
The preliminary National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data demonstrated CO2 concentrations hit 400.83 ppm last March 2015, a definite increase from the 398.10 ppm recorded in March 2014, and NOAA scientists believe it would likely remain above 400 ppm during May onwards. NOAA noted that the average growth rate in CO2 concentrations was 2.25 ppm annually, the highest ever registered for three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014.
This global average is a significant milestone for humanity and the alarming outcome of human burning fossil fuels that have contributed to increased CO2 emissions to more than 120 ppm since pre-industrial times. World leaders are scheduled for a conference in Paris for a UN climate summit later this year to make a global agreement on reduction of CO2 emissions that could regulate global warming.
CO2 has been the most significant long-lasting factor of global warming, and being a by-product of burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal, one CO2 particle could stay in the atmosphere for a very long time. CO2 emissions warm the planet by capturing the sun's energy and trapping the heat from getting out into space.
By the end of the century, experts believe that the average surface temperatures could rise by 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit if the heat-trapping CO2 emissions will not be reduced. This average temperature increase could mean one degree rise in one part of the Earth, a 12 degree increase on the other side not to mention that some regions may become colder.
Meanwhile, droughts will get more intense and more frequent, with possibly destructive consequences for human health, agriculture and water supply. This phenomenon has been happening already in some parts of Africa and Asia.
Last 2003, extreme heat waves resulted to more than 1,500 deaths in India and more than 20,000 deaths in Europe. Experts believed that the fatal heat waves are connected to climate change and warn that with the recent events, it would still continue.
CO2 emissions would intensify climate changes that may increase the spread of infectious diseases, for the main reason that warmer temperatures permit disease-carrying insects, microbes and animals to survive in regions where they were once destroyed by cold weather.
Awareness and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions should be a worldwide campaign or the future human generations will likely suffer the consequences.
Photo: Alex Ford | Flickr