Earth's CO2 Levels Highest in 3-million Years
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New data from a German research group has indicated that Earth’s levels of carbon-dioxide is currently at a three-million year high.
The news comes courtesy of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and their sophisticated computer projections.
One of the report’s lead authors, Matteo Willeit, has stressed that this should not be taken as a mere warning, considering the last time the Earth saw a CO2 concentration as high as today’s, the oceans were 20-meters high; and Greenland was predominantly green.
Willeit explained that, according to the simulation, CO2 levels should not be higher than 280 parts-per-million (ppm) without human activity, but they are actually standing around 410-ppm, and rising.
“Our results imply a strong sensitivity of the Earth[‘s] system to relatively small variations in atmospheric CO2. As fascinating as this is, it is also worrying.” Matteo Willeit said.
“It seems that we’re now pushing our home planet beyond any climatic conditions experienced during the entire current geological period.”
“The modern climate change we see is big, really big; even by [the] standards of Earth’s history.”
“The fact that the model can reproduce the main features of the observed climate history gives us confidence in our general understanding of how the climate system works,” co-author Andrey Ganopolski said.
The Potsdam-based researchers aren’t the first to analyse CO2 levels in the atmosphere, but they are amongst the first to synthesise ocean-floor sediment data with analysis of past ice volumes.
As a result, this research is said to be far more sophisticated than previously on offer.
“The simulations we develop have to be simple enough to allow for thousands of calculation runs of many thousands of years, and yet have to capture the critical factors that drive our climate.”
“This is what we have achieved. And it is confirming how outstandingly important changes in CO2 levels are for Earth’s climate.” Ganopolski concluded.
Speaking at the Royal Meteorological Society last week, Professor Martin Siegert from London’s Imperial College addressed the group’s findings, saying they offer a view into the earth’s future if mankind fails to take the requisite action.