The atmosphere over the Arctic has hit a troublesome milestone: the concentration of CO2 has surpassed 400 parts per million. Stations across the region in Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Iceland have recorded the measurements that have surged since the winter and spring have brought a decline in CO2-absorbing vegetation. While the downswing in carbon absorption happens every year, this is the first time in 800,000 years that the CO2 concentration anywhere in the world has been 400 ppm or above.
Before industrialization, global CO2 levels were about 280 ppm but in recent years global levels have reached as high as 395 ppm. The fact that any area of the globe has climbed above the 400 ppm mark concerns climate scientists that even with many countries rolling out carbon reduction measures, it's not making a difference fast enough.
Carnegie Institution ecologist Chris Field, a leader of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said, “It is an indication that we’re in a different world.”
To that end, scientists have recently discovered that the loss of Arctic summer ice and accelerated warming of that region are altering the jet stream, which is likely to increase extreme weather events around the world.
via Yale e360
Image via flickr user Polar Cruises