SuperUser Account Tuesday, July 8, 2014 / Categories: Research Headlines, Climate, 2014 Greenhouse gases top 400 ppm for three months in a row at Mauna Loa Record high levels of carbon dioxide sustained for longest period at key testing site For the first time since carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been measured, the levels of this greenhouse gas at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, have been above 400 parts per million every single day for three straight months. “We’ve reached another benchmark, reminding us that carbon dioxide concentrations continue to increase every year as carbon dioxide emissions continue,” said Pieter Tans, who leads NOAA’s measurement program. “Humans have caused carbon dioxide concentrations to rise 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times, with half of that since the early 1980s. Half of all emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel burning have taken place since 1986.” In 2013, carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa, the oldest continuous measurement station operating since the 1950s, reached 400 ppm for several days for the first time during May, but did not stay at this level for an entire month. This year, the 400 ppm mark was reached two months earlier in March and the average surpassed 400 ppm for the months of April, May and June. You can track greenhouse gas concentrations online at NOAA’s website. The global average has not yet reached 400 ppm. The global average for May, according to the most recent data, was 398.83 ppm. The average for June is also not expected to reach 400 ppm. Carbon dioxide concentrations at Mauna Loa begin to decline in June every year as seasonal plant growth drives the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This trend is expected to continue until the end of summer in late September as part of the natural seasonal swing. Other measurement sites Arctic sites all reached 400 ppm in May of 2012, about a year before Mauna Loa. Southern hemispheric sites are expected to follow with the South Pole expected to reach 400 ppm in late 2016. “To reverse this trend of rising greenhouse gases, nations would need to quickly eliminate about half of fossil fuel emissions globally, and gradually continue further reductions until zero net emissions have been reached,” Tans said. For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs at NOAA Research at 301-734-1123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Previous Article NOAA and partner scientists study ocean acidification in Prince William Sound Next Article NOAA tests unmanned aircraft for wildlife surveys and environmental research in Hawaii Print 21355 Tags: climate CO2 Related articles New research finds the Western U.S. is a hot spot for "snow droughts" NOAA names University of Miami to host cooperative institute NOAA’s Climate Program Office launches Climate Risk Areas Initiative NOAA releases roadmap for the next 7 years of research and development NOAA collects a lot of data on the ocean. Here are 4 ways we use it.