November 27, 2012

Greenhouse Gases Hit New Record in 2011

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Last week while Americans were preparing their Thanksgiving feasts, a new damning report came out on the status of climate change. Unfortunately, we are not curbing greenhouse gas emissions fast enough.

Eco Watch explains:

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011, according to a press release today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)...

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations--and not emissions--of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and the oceans.

CO2 is the most important of the long-lived greenhouse gases--so named because they trap radiation within the Earth's atmosphere causing it to warm. Human activities, such as fossil fuel burning and land use change (for instance, tropical deforestation), are the main sources of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The other main long-lived greenhouse gases are methane and nitrous oxide. Increasing concentrations of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are drivers of climate change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, quoted in the bulletin, shows that from 1990 to 2011, radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 30 percent, with CO2 accounting for about 80 percent of this increase. Total radiative forcing of all long-lived greenhouse gases was the CO2 equivalent of 473 parts per million in 2011.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at November 27, 2012 12:03 AM

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