Highest Level of CO2 Observed


Imagine having summer on December. Ironically, this scenario might just indeed be our new reality in the next 50 years.

A study conducted by German-based Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on climate evolution, with focus on understanding the glacial cycle, revealed that the level of carbon dioxide in our air is at 400 ppm, the peak for the past 3 million years.

The Opposite Direction

Using previous studies within the institute, researchers at PIK generated a computer algorithm that simulated the earth’s complex physical and chemical structure. There were three main considerations on the algorithm:

  1. The sediment layers on bedrock.
  2. CO2-contributing natural events like volcanic eruptions.
  3. The Earth’s cyclical push-pull with the sun.

The objective was to correlate these with the glacial cycle, which is the trend of freezing of areas around the globe over the span of million years.

The study concluded that for the next ice age to happen, a decrease on both sediment layers on bedrocks and atmospheric CO2 level are necessary.

However, the study also noted that due to the highest observed CO2 level in the atmosphere, it might be that the next ice age will not happen at all. It further argued that with these current conditions, we might be heading the opposite direction.

Increased CO2 Level: A Warming Planet

The study also investigated the temperature change within the period. It has been consistently well within 2 deg C change prior the industrial revolution era. With burning of fossil fuels remaining as the highest contributor of atmospheric CO2, human have become a vital force in climate change.

With over 5,000 deaths and 28M affected, the year 2018 had indeed been a resounding evidence of continued climate change. Last year, the city of Venice found itself under the highest level of flooding it have ever experience since the 1900’s. Also last year, Argentina experienced its worst drought for the last 30 years. From May to July last year, Europe experienced heatwaves with 2 deg C higher than average temperature.

With human activities contributing to the warming of the planet, the study also suggests that the opposite can be achieved. The study emphasized that the Paris Agreement, a global effort to keep rise of global temperature within 2 degrees by 2020, and eventually at 1.5 degrees, is the key for the glacial cycle to continue the trend.