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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anthropocene Today

Posted by on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:12 PM


WASHINGTON — The world’s air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant.

Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn’t quite a surprise, because it’s been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.

So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.

According to the UW paleontologist Peter Ward, all mass extinction events of the last 500 million years occurred when CO2 levels exceeded 1000 parts per million (ppm).


Comments (4) RSS

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prompt 1
If you get a chance, read Ward's "Under a Green Sky". It discusses previous mass extinctions and the quite varied history of the Earth.
Posted by prompt on May 31, 2012 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Global warming from man made CO2 is a serious problem, but really, high CO2 made an asteroid hit the Earth? What a ridiculous article.
Posted by MikeB on May 31, 2012 at 7:36 PM · Report this
@2, No, Ward says that before 2000 (and since 1980) the evidence pointed toward accidents like asteroid impacts as a cause of mass extinctions. Then, he discusses why he thinks the Permian-Triassic boundary extinction was caused by CO2 released during flood basalt volcanic eruptions (like the Columbia Plateau basalt although these floods are much more recent). He also adds that this is the scenario he prefers for the majority of large extinctions.
Posted by anon1256 on May 31, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
venomlash 5
Posted by venomlash on June 1, 2012 at 1:59 AM · Report this

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