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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The concentration of CO2 at Izaña reaches values ​​of 3 million years ago

Teide Observatory

The Centro de Investigación Atmosférica de Izaña (Atmospheric Investigation Centre) at the Teide Observatory - the astronomical observatory operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Canarian Astrophysics Institute) on Mount Teide, Tenerife - was the first in the world to detect the record of daily average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, of more than 415 ppm, confirming humans' entry into unexplored territory.

Centre Director, Emilio Cuevas, warns about the spectacular increase of this gas that produces the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, by 30% in 35 years

The observatory of Global Atmospheric Surveillance of the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) at Izaña registered the historical record of the measurements of average daily concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), with 415 ppm (parts per million) in April.

The data, provided by the Ministry of Environment, confirms that the observatory at Mauna Loa (Hawaii) also detected levels that exceeded this threshold earlier this month, confirming a trend of growth of this greenhouse gas worldwide.

The director of the Center for Atmospheric Research at Izaña, Emilio Cuevas, said that "The rate of year-on-year growth has accelerated by 30% in the last 35 years, since in 1984. The annual increase was 1.8 ppm per year and currently it is 2.3 ppm per year ". This figure has been exceeded four times  with a maximum in the data series (starting in June 1984) of 416.7 ppm on April 18. "It means that the concentration in the atmosphere of this gas, which produces global warming, is accelerating and at the moment we are far from any decrease, since it is increasing dramatically," said Cuevas. "That the threshold of 415 ppm has been passed puts us in unexplored territory for humanity, as there had not been a similar record since we inhabited the Earth," he said.

We would have to go back 3 million years to obtain a similar concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, at which time human beings did not exist.

It is predicted that the year 2020 will once again surpass 418 parts per million of CO2 and Cuevas hopes that, in 2050, global stabilization will begin to be observed. Very likely there will never again be concentrations below 400 ppm. "Stabilization would be a very important achievement. The challenge now is that it does not rise each year, "he insisted.

Measuring the concentration of CO2 in clean atmosphere is not easy and therefore there are not many observatories in the world that perform this type of measurement of such high precision. There are only 30 laboratories and all are located in areas far away from the emission sources, sources of pollution, isolated from continents and in high areas, such as Hawaii, Samoa, Tasmania, the South Pole, Alaska or Tenerife.

La concentración de CO2 en Izaña ya alcanza valores de hace 3 millones de años

(Guided daytime visit of the Teide Observatory and Astronomical Tours)

Imagen de M W en Pixabay

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