At an ominous rate
us scientists have reported a sharp increase in the level of carbon dioxide (co2) -- the prime cause of global warming -- in the atmosphere. The average co2 level at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii on March 19 was around 379 parts per million (ppm). A year ago, it was 376 ppm. This 3 ppm rise in one year is quite high when compared to the average annual increase of 1.8 ppm over the past decade.
The reason behind this escalation "will require further analysis", media reports quoted us government experts as saying. "But the big picture is that co2 is continuing to go up," said Russell Schnell, deputy director of the us National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate monitoring laboratory in Colorado. The Hawaii observatory is operated by this lab.
Australian researchers have also reported a significant rise in co2 levels. Their recordings were made in eastern Australia, the southern state of Tasmania, Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic, an Australian station in Antarctica, and at the South Pole. Paul Fraser, chief research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Australian government's scientific agency, said the persistent increase observed over such a large area "closely reflects the total global emissions". He was of the view that burning of fossil fuels was probably the main reason behind this trend.
Scientists warn that if the levels of co2 are not checked, the average global temperature might rise between 1.5 and 5.78 degrees Celsius by 2100. Both Australia and the us have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol -- a treaty that aims to reduce emissions causing global warming.
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