Despite pandemic, level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hits historic levels

TUESDAY, JUNE 8TH, 2021

🖊DAILY MAIL 📸Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Economies worldwide nearly ground to a halt over the 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a startling drop in global greenhouse gas emissions.

But that did little to slow the steady accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which reached the highest levels since accurate measurements began 63 years ago, scientists said.

Scientists from Scripps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide peaked in May, reaching a monthly average of nearly 419 parts per million.

That represents an increase from the May 2020 mean of 417 parts per million, and it marks the highest level since measurements began 63 years ago at the NOAA observatory in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Twice in 2021, daily levels recorded at the observatory have exceeded 420 parts per million, researchers said.

The highest monthly mean levels of carbon dioxide typically occur each May, just before plants in the Northern Hemisphere start to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere during the growing season. In the northern fall, winter and early spring, plants and soil give off CO2, causing levels to rise.

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