1000 years of greenhouse gases

by Richard on April 23, 2012

From Desdemona Despair

1000-year records of southern hemisphere background concentrations of CO2 parts per million (ppm – orange), N2O parts per billion (ppb – blue) and CH4 (ppb – green) measured at Cape Grim Tasmania and in air extracted from Antarctic ice and near surface levels of ice known as firn.

Global CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations have risen rapidly during the past two centuries. The amount of these long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new high in 2011. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in 2011 was 390 parts per million (ppm) – much higher than the natural range of 170 to 300 ppm during the past 800,000 years.

Global CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increased from 2009 to 2011 at 2 ppm per year. Over the same period, nitrous oxide increased at nearly 1 part per billion (ppb) per year and the synthetic greenhouse gases (CFCs, HFCs and so on) increased at nearly ten parts per trillion per year. Methane has increased by about 6 ppb per year from 2009 to 2011 after a temporary pause in growth from 1998 to 2005.

Hands up if you still think human beings can’t change the atmosphere.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


Pam 04.24.12 at 5:15 am

“Desdemona Despair” - nice name.

God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God,
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
and wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And, for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastwards, springs -
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


Richard 04.24.12 at 2:40 pm

Powerful stuff. Thanks Pam.

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