Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased at a record-breaking pace last year, a new report shows.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) reports that between 2012 and 2013, carbon dioxide increased by 2.9 parts per million (ppm), bringing carbon dioxide levels up to a whopping average level of 396 ppm.
If that doesn’t sound like much, check out the chart below, which shows carbon dioxide growth from 1700 on: those 2013 CO2 levels are estimated to be 142% of their pre-industrial levels.
And the chart below, from the WMO shows carbon dioxide increases from year to year — the taller the bar, the higher the jump that year. 2013 comes in at an increase of 2.9 parts per million. You can see the second runner up, between 1995 and 1996, comes in slightly lower jump.
The growth rates fluctuate from year to year, with some years accumulating more carbon dioxide than others. That being said, the graph shows how the yearly increases have been on the bigger side every year since the late 90s.
The year 2013 saw the highest one-year leap in CO2 since detailed records were first collected in the 1980s, and the WMO reports that most of the carbon emissions can be attributed to fossil fuel combustion and cement production.
And the record-breaking doesn’t end there: This year, April became the first month in human history in which carbon dioxide levels hit a monthly average of 400 ppm. The first daily average reading of 400ppm carbon dioxide was first recorded just last year, the first time in 800,000 years.
This chart from the report shows how total carbon dioxide levels have risen steadily over the years. You can see they dip seasonally, but levels are continually going up. These are the monthly averages of CO2 readings.
The data end at 2013, but scientists predict the levels will only continue to increase if humans don’t start taking measures to reduce our carbon emissions. It’s a grim picture, and only time will tell what additional broken records are in store for the future.
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