Looks Like The Planet Won’t Have Carbon Levels Below Serious For Ages
If you haven't heard, our planet is going through some fundamental changes that, in the long run, probably won't be good for the human race.
Say what you want about climate change and whether it's real or not, but figures show that the Earth won't have atmospheric carbon levels below what's considered serious for a very long time.
The dreaded line to be crossed is 400 million parts per million and scientists saw levels just a tiny bit above that in September 2016, which is supposed to be the month with the lowest level of atmospheric carbon.
So, if we crossed the line on the weakest month, you can be damned sure that it's way above that 400 million parts in the heaviest month.
Scientists reckon that it's not as easy as just restricting a bunch of carbon emitters around the world; it looks like we're stuck above this level.
Rob Monroe from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography wrote: "Brief excursions towards lower values are still possible but it already seems safe to conclude that we won't be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year - or ever again for the indefinite future."
Great. Just great.
The first place on the planet to see atmospheric carbon levels breach that level was the Arctic in 2012, before it slowly started to creep southward.
Dr Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, told the Guardian: "This event is a milestone on a road to unprecedented climate change for the human race. The last time the Earth had this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was more than a million years ago, when modern humans hadn't even evolved yet."
A Yale study reckons that within the next 50 years, the planet could be seeing levels around the 500 atmospheric parts per million area - which is pretty terrifying.
If that does happen then we can expect to see a global temperature rise of around three degrees.
Climate Code Red wrote that an increase of that much could be the 'tipping point' for drastic climate change, which could wreak havoc on Earth.
Climate scientist James Hansen told Wild magazine last year: "If we go over the edge, it will be a transition to 'a different planet', an environment far outside the range that has been experienced by humanity. There will be no return within the lifetime of any generation that can be imagined, and the trip will exterminate a large fraction of species on the planet."
Hopefully we never get there, but we'll have to do a lot to ensure that doesn't happen.
Featured Image Credit: PA