Greenhouse Gas Concentrations In Atmosphere Reach New Record
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years.
The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.
Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, the global average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 41%, methane by 160% and nitrous oxide by 20%.
What is happening in the atmosphere is one part of a much wider picture. Only about half of the CO2emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the oceans.
“The observations from WMO’s extensive Global Atmosphere Watch network highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and area major contribution to climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.