Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in the Atmosphere Reach New Record

Global Warming? That’s the headline on the
World Meteorological Organization’s
press release
for its latest
Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
report issued just before the
Conference of the Parties
(COP-19) of the U.N. Framework
Convention on Climate Change convenes later this month in Warsaw.
The release notes:

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.

Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions,
accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2
from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the
past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

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 CO2 emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere,
with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the

Interestingly, the GHG Bulletin notes that the amount
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased by 32 percent
since 1990. Yet global average temperatures have been
more or less flat for the last 15 years
. Curious.

Heads up: I will be writing daily dispatches from the COP-19
in Warsaw from November 18 to its end on November 22.

from Hit & Run

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