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Australia bushfires contribute to big rise in global CO2 levels - UK's Met Office

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Australia bushfires contribute to big rise in global CO2 levels - UK's Met Office

By Matthew Green

 

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FILE PHOTO: The sun struggles through the clouds as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales, Australia January 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tracey Nearmy

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Australia’s bushfires are contributing to one of the biggest annual increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere since record-keeping began more than 60 years ago, according to a forecast published by Britain’s Met Office on Friday.

 

While human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for the bulk of the increase in CO2 levels, Australia’s bushfires have made the problem measurably worse, underscoring the impact of the catastrophe on the global climate system.

 

“A forecast of the atmospheric concentration of carbon-dioxide shows that 2020 will witness one of the largest annual rises in concentration since measurements began at Mauna Loa, in Hawaii, 1958,” the Met Office said in a statement.

 

It said the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is expected to peak above 417 parts per million in May, with the average for the year forecast to be 414.2 ± 0.6ppm. This annual average represents a 2.74 ± 0.57 ppm rise on the 2019 average.

 

Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere have already far surpassed what scientists consider to be safe limits.

 

At a climate summit in Madrid in December, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that 400 ppm had once been considered “an unthinkable tipping point.”

 

The last time there was a comparable concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was between 3 and 5 million years ago, when the temperature was between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres higher than today, scientists say.

 

Although the data series started in 1958 has always shown CO2 concentrations increasing year-on-year, driven by fossil fuel burning and deforestation, the rate of rise has not been perfectly even, the Met Office said.

 

Fluctations in the amount of CO2 absorbed by tropical forests and other natural carbon sinks can affect overall levels of the gas in the atmosphere.

 

“Overall these are expected to be weaker than normal for a second year running,” said Richard Betts, of the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter.

 

This year, the Met forecasts that the impact of weather patterns on global ecosystems will increase the annual human-caused rise in CO2 concentration by 10%, with emissions from the Australian fires accounting for one-fifth of that increase.

 

Australia’s fires are themselves a foretaste of the kind of catastrophes that are liable to become normal as the planet warms, with prolonged drought and low humidity making arid landscapes more vulnerable to huge blazes, scientists say.

 

The CO2 forecast underscored the urgency of the task facing negotiators trying to persuade big countries to cut emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change, which is still nowhere near on track to spare the world from devastating temperature increases.

 

The accord enters a crucial implementation phase this year, with governments due to submit more ambitious plans for climate action ahead of a summit in Glasgow in November. Australia’s government is regarded as among the main laggards.

 

Last month, the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index rated Australia as one of the worst performers among 57 high-emitters, awarding it 0 out of 100 possible points for its policies.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-24
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9 minutes ago, snoop1130 said:

Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere have already far surpassed what scientists consider to be safe limits.

i see it the other way around, at 150 ppm plants will die,

we should have a 10 fold safety margin to that

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12 minutes ago, brokenbone said:

i see it the other way around, at 150 ppm plants will die,

we should have a 10 fold safety margin to that

Not quite sure about it. NASA says our planet is in reality greener than 20 years ago. CO2 is food for plants. Please read below:

 

https://www.climate.news/2019-04-26-nasa-declares-carbon-dioxide-is-greening-the-earth.html

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Tulak said:

Not quite sure about it. NASA says our planet is in reality greener than 20 years ago. CO2 is food for plants. Please read below:

 

https://www.climate.news/2019-04-26-nasa-declares-carbon-dioxide-is-greening-the-earth.html

 

 

yes, the plants have been starving for hundreds of millions of years due to

a continuous depletion of co2 in the atmosphere, and they are still starving

albeit no longer at the brink of extinction.

still, as critical as this is, we should have a comfortable safety margin.

a simple extrapolation of this trend is that without man recycling back

co2 back into atmosphere where it belong will inevitably end in end of plant life

in another 2 million years, and with it all other life forms up the food chain

long time.jpg

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Sure, and when the plants grow back it'll suck the CO2 in. It's called life.

 

Nifty that they include bushfires in the 'human-caused'. I suppose it's all meat eating straight middle aged white man's fault, as usual.

Edited by DrTuner
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As per usual, what denialists seem incapable of understanding is that rate matters. I just wonder if in their financial affairs they are similarly incapable of understanding the difference high interest rates make to loans and investments.

Another point they seem incapable of assimilating is that more isn't necessarily better. 

4 hours ago, VocalNeal said:

Oh dear this will not be popular?

Always a good idea to actually read a linked page before posting it as evidence. Again, more is not necessariy better.

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6 hours ago, bristolboy said:

As per usual, what denialists seem incapable of understanding is that rate matters. I just wonder if in their financial affairs they are similarly incapable of understanding the difference high interest rates make to loans and investments.

Another point they seem incapable of assimilating is that more isn't necessarily better. 

Always a good idea to actually read a linked page before posting it as evidence. Again, more is not necessariy better.

when it comes to safety matters, more is better, and that is doubly true

in the face of inevitable extinction of life on earth.

at the bottom of last glacial period, earth hit an all time low of 180 ppm co2,

that is as close as you get from wiping out life on earth.

we need to ensure next upcoming glacial period isnt going to dip below 150 ppm co2,

so we have a time frame to work with, we need to make sure whatever comes

isnt going to dip co2 below 150 ppm.

on top of that, in case of co2 relation to plant growth,

its an established fact that more = better to at least 1500 ppm co2,

which coincide with a safety factor of 10, a common safety factor in construction,

why would a bridge that has the potential of killing 20 humans

have a higher safety factor then all life on earth combined ?

co2-has-its-benefits.jpg

future-energy4.jpg

Edited by brokenbone
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12 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

The last time there was a comparable concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was between 3 and 5 million years ago, when the temperature was between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres higher than today, scientists say.

so  why arent they at thos e levels  now  then

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9 hours ago, DrTuner said:

Sure, and when the plants grow back it'll suck the CO2 in. It's called life.

 

Nifty that they include bushfires in the 'human-caused'. I suppose it's all meat eating straight middle aged white man's fault, as usual.

I  was slagged  off for mentioning  a lot of those burnt trees  would  grow  back, someone spouted  sterile  soil at me..............great  it  means an easy ride for the eucs to get going again as  well as other plants https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51036608

Edited by Chazar
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1 hour ago, Chazar said:

I  was slagged  off for mentioning  a lot of those burnt trees  would  grow  back, someone spouted  sterile  soil at me..............great  it  means an easy ride for the eucs to get going again as  well as other plants https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51036608

the burning is a natural and necessary process for the fauna

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2 minutes ago, brokenbone said:

the burning is a natural and necessary process for the fauna

 ummm  'flora' 

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