From: Alister Doyle, Reuters
Published March 16, 2010 07:11 AM

CO2 at new highs despite economic slowdown

Levels of the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere have risen to new highs in 2010 despite an economic slowdown in many nations that braked industrial output, data showed on Monday.

Carbon dioxide, measured at Norway's Zeppelin station on the Arctic Svalbard archipelago, rose to a median 393.71 parts per million of the atmosphere in the first two weeks of March from 393.17 in the same period of 2009, extending years of gains.

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"Looking back at the data we have from Zeppelin since the end of the 1980s it seems like the increase is accelerating" Johan Stroem, of the Norwegian Polar Institute, said of the data compiled with Stockholm University.

The rise in concentrations, close to an annual peak before carbon-absorbing plants start to grow in the northern hemisphere spring, was below the average gain over the year of around 2 parts per million.

"It still confirms the rise," Stroem said of the data from the first two weeks of March supplied to Reuters. Concentrations vary from week to week depending on the source of Arctic winds.

Carbon concentrations have risen by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution ushered in wider use of fossil fuels. A 2009 study of the ocean off Africa indicated carbon levels in the atmosphere were at their highest in 2.1 million years.

Recession in 2009 in many nations has not apparently affected gains. The International Energy Agency estimated in September that emissions of carbon dioxide would fall about 2.6 percent in 2009 because of a decline in industrial activity.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62E2KJ20100315

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