Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere hit highest point in human history

/ 04:45 PM May 14, 2019
Carbon dioxide

Image: AP/Amel Emric

Carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere just reached a new record — one never before seen in the history of humankind. 

Researchers of the The Scripps Institution of Oceanography reported that it took the reading of 415.26 parts per million in the air on May 12, 2019.


The Scripps Institution of Oceanography measures levels of carbon dioxide at the Mauna Loa Observatory daily. The observatory was built on Hawaii’s largest volcano because it is an ideal location for monitoring atmospheric conditions, due its remote location, undisturbed air and minimal vegetation.

The institution has been taking measurements and readings of carbon dioxide since the program was started in 1958 by the late Charles David Keeling, for whom the Keeling Curve — the graph that shows the ongoing change in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere — was named after.


The record-setting readings from the Keeling Curve released on May 12 were retweeted by meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

“This is the first time in human history our planet’s atmosphere has had more than 415ppm CO2,” he said.

“Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago. We do not know a planet like this,” Holthaus added.


Ralph Keeling, director of the institution’s carbon dioxide program, said the current rise is likely from both human and natural causes. Ryan Arcadio/JB


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TOPICS: atmosphere, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide emissions, Environment, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
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