The federal government has issued the annual State of the Climate report and it is a sobering one. The report states that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to levels the world has not seen in at least 800,000 years. Global carbon dioxide concentrations reached a record 407.4 parts per million during 2018. That is 2.4 ppm more than 2017.
Other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide also continued their rapid increase. Taken together, the global warming power of greenhouse gases was 43% stronger than it was in 1990.
Along with greenhouse gases, global sea levels also reached their highest levels on record for the seventh consecutive year. Ocean levels are rising about an inch per decade, but that number may rise if ice melt at the poles continues to accelerate.
Global temperatures had their fourth highest level on record in 2018, slightly lagging 2016, 2015, and 2017 for the highest ever. A La Niña over the Pacific cooled ocean waters for part of 2018, keeping temperatures a bit lower. So far, 2019 is on track to be the warmest year in recorded history.
Global sea temperatures also set a record level in 2018. And glaciers continued to melt at an alarming rate for the 30th consecutive year.
The State of the Climate report is yet another in a series of expert, science-based reports that continue to sound the alarm about the climate crisis. Climate change is affecting our weather, agricultural productivity, water supply, public health and national security. Unfortunately, the facts continue to be drowned out for many people by blogs, pundits, and posts on social media.
Greenhouse Gases Reach Unprecedented Level
Photo, posted January 13, 2014, courtesy of Ronnie Robertson via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
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