Throw out all the conferences, the memos and all the efforts of environmental activists advising the population to reduce a carbon footprint. Global warming was just thrown out the window when The Scripss Institution of Oceanography dropped a big rock on the topic. Atmospheric carbon levels have been pushed beyond the feared 400 parts per million and this is a permanent feature.
In their blog post on Friday the 2nd December, The agency issued a dire statement that “it already seems safe to conclude that we won’t be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year—or ever again for the indefinite future.” Now that is a frightening scenario for the environment even though millions around the globe may not even bat an eyelid.
Irreversible levels of carbon in the atmosphere
The deduction of such calculations were based on weekly observations of CO2 being measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii since 1958. Now why is this number so terrifying for scientists? Well this is why!! Scientists have been warning that should atmospheric carbon cross 400 parts per million it would be a negative and serious milestone heralding the degradation of the environment. The first region to cross the red line was the Arctic in 2012. Three years later, Carbon levels have remained consistently beyond 400 parts per million sometimes lasting over a month.
Now scientists fear that there will be no reverse resulting from the cyclical effect on Mauna Loa’s curve. Scientists have routinely observed the lowest point of carbon levels in September but this year, those levels are in the region of 401 parts per million.
The Paris Agreement has had little effect
The only positive aspect of such a condition is that it might serve as awake up call to people around the globe as a call to action. Till now countries have tried abiding to the Paris agreement (an international convention dedicated to keep climate change in check) Countries bound by the agreement are required to maintain atmospheric carbon levels and global average temperatures below 1.5 centigrade which is pre industrial level. Unfortunately the countries who are a part of this agreement account for just 47.76% of the worlds carbon emissions
The permanent effects of climate change can be devastating and cause incidents like extinction, food disruption and the like.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, 10,000 species might become extinct every year. The agency also states that, one fourth of Earth’s species could be extinct by the year 2050.
Food chain disruption
Extinction will also cause a huge imbalance in the food chain as predators and preys both disappear. Already in the Arctic Circle, there is a decline in the growth of sea plankton a nutritional source of vitamins and nutrients for species like polar bears, cod and seals. Throughout Alaska and Western Canada, winter temperatures have risen as high as 7 ⁰ F.
Rising sea levels
With the melting of ancient glaciers and rising thermal expansion, coastlines will gradually flood and coastal cities will be seriously affected by rising ocean levels. This will result in the disappearance of coastal settlements and displacement of communities. Approximately 13 million people in the US alone might lose their homes by 2100 due to rising sea levels. Scientists believe that even if efforts were made to prevent such catastrophes, the changes would be irreversible.
Ocean acidification and coral bleaching
Entire marine systems are being affected Ocean acidity due to the atmospheric carbon levels causing absorbing of CO2 in the water. Current examples are Australia’s Great Barrier Reef which is already dying. Bleaching of coral reefs will be a long lasting event impacting ocean ecosystems for good.