The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its long-time monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, averaged 421 parts per million of carbon dioxide for the month of May, which are levels not seen in million of years. Before the industrial revolution in the late 19th century carbon dioxide levels were at 280 parts per million. NOAA said carbon dioxide levels are now about the same as 4.1 to 4.5 million years ago in the Pliocene era, when temperatures were 7 degrees hotter and sea levels were 16 to 82 feet higher than now.This year’s carbon dioxide level is nearly 1.9 ppm more than a year ago, a slightly bigger jump than from May 2020 to May 2021. University of Illinois climate scientist Donald Wuebbles said without cuts in carbon pollution “we will see ever more damaging levels of climate change. NOAA also found that levels of methane, another greenhouse gas, increased dramatically in 2020. Carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change.
Global warming doesn’t just mean scorching temperatures and rising sea levels. It also means the death of oceans, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water, leading to the death of marine life. One such dead zone is in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest in U.S. waters. It is fueled by nutrient runoff from farms along the Mississippi River. Levels of the two most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, continued their unrelenting rise in 2020 despite the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic response. “Human activity is driving climate change,” said Colm Sweeney, assistant deputy director of the Global Monitoring Lab. Fossil fuel air pollution causes nearly 1 in 5 deaths worldwide each year, research shows.