co2 level becoming symbolic

  • : Within the next couple of weeks a major climate change marker is likely to be passed in a remote part of north-western Tasmania called Cape Grim. It's the co2 monitoring site jointly run by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology and researchers predict its baseline reading of 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is likely to be exceeded. Cape Grim's readings are significant because they capture the most accurate reading of atmospheric conditions in the southern hemisphere and have records going back 40 years. While 400 ppm has been temporarily exceeded at the other two main global stations since 2013, in Hawaii and Alaska, levels dropped back when spring arrived related to greater seasonal variation than in the south. Before about 1800 co2 levels fluctuated around 280 ppm until human burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests started almost continuous rising levels of greenhouse gases. While the fraction may seem small, it's 0.04% of the atmosphere and it's symbolic. By comparison, a similar level of alcohol is near the legal driving limit of less than 0.5% in Australia.

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