Environment

CO2 hits record highs over South Pole in hottest May on record

CO2 hits record highs over Sou...
Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has tipped over the 400 parts per million point at the South Pole for the first time in four million years
Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has tipped over the 400 parts per million point at the South Pole for the first time in four million years
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Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has tipped over the 400 parts per million point at the South Pole for the first time in four million years
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Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has tipped over the 400 parts per million point at the South Pole for the first time in four million years
The melting of sea ice in the Arctic is particular cause for concern, scientists say
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The melting of sea ice in the Arctic is particular cause for concern, scientists say

It's not something we should be shooting for, but we're on a bit of a hot streak when it comes to global temperatures. Newly released data on the Earth's climate has revealed that 2016 saw the hottest May on record, marking the 13th successive time a monthly global temperature record has been broken as the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the main reason for this warming trend, hits new levels over the South Pole.

The data released by NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows average global temperatures for May over land and ocean surfaces were 0.87° C (1.57° F) higher than the 20th century average of 14.8° C (58.6° F). This surpassed the previous record set in May 2015 by 0.02° C (0.04° F).

Temperature records have tumbled over the past year or so. Across 2015, average global temperatures were 0.76° C (1.4° F) higher than the 20th century average, and a whole degree (1.8° F) higher than the 19th century average. NOAA's records show this is the 13th consecutive month where the mercury has hit new heights for that particular time of year.

A strong El Niño pattern, which allows stored heat to escape from the ocean and influence temperatures and weather patterns, has been a factor in these record-breaking figures, but scientists say that mounting carbon emissions are the underlying reason.

"The state of the climate so far this year gives us much cause for alarm," says David Carlson, Director of the World Climate Research Programme. "Exceptionally high temperatures. Ice melt rates in March and May that we don't normally see until July. Once-in-a-generation rainfall events. The super El Niño is only partly to blame. Abnormal is the new normal."

When it comes to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million (ppm) is the concentration that experts consider safe. But the continued burning of fossil fuels has pumped so much excess CO2 into the atmosphere that concentration has risen beyond the 400 ppm mark at different monitoring stations around the world. Now, NOAA is reporting that the South Pole is the latest location to be tipped over this symbolic, and dangerous, threshold for the first time in four million years.

"The far Southern Hemisphere was the last place on earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark," says Pieter Tans, the lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. "Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer."

The melting of sea ice in the Arctic is particular cause for concern, scientists say
The melting of sea ice in the Arctic is particular cause for concern, scientists say

But it is the opposite end of the globe that is really feeling the heat, according to the World Meteorological Organization. It describes the snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere as exceptionally low and reports an earlier than normal annual melting of Arctic sea ice, along with the Greenland ice sheet.

"The rapid changes in the Arctic are of particular concern," says Carlson. "What happens in the Arctic affects the rest of the globe. The question is will the rate of change continue? Will it accelerate? We are in uncharted territory."

Source: World Meteorological Organization

6 comments
alib
Surely, the more people who travel to these parts of the world, are also causing more damage! Maybe if people stopped going there, it may calm down a bit!
bfearn
We are not, "in uncharted territory." The climate change science is irrefutable. The future is clear. 100% of the worlds peer-reviewed climate scientists agree. The planet is warming and humans are contributing to this. When people who are involved in climate change tells us that they don't know what will happen then they add to the uncertainty that is not there!!
ljaques
I love it when they say that the El Nino "may" be a contributing cause. And when a globular swarming alarmist says something may be cause for alarm, I try to follow the money behind his statement. When NOAA (and others) stop intentionally skewing the figures by shutting down weather stations, and all the other things they do to slant figures in the direction they want, I'll start listening to them again. The hand-picked data and Hockey Stick graphs you alarmists keep publishing don't work on aware/awake people. Shame on you. Bfearn, your 100% figure is inaccurate, unless you are only counting those in your tiny group of publications whose administration turn down actual scientific fact because the scientist doesn't bend to their way of thinking. Gee, I'd rather have the facts than brown-nosing policy wonks, knowwhatImean,Vern? P.S: Uncertainty in globular swarming/climate change ABOUNDS. We now return you to your standard, between-Ice Age temperature fluctuations. _When_ things actually change, we'll either adapt or die.
Catweazle
The Earth is around four and a half billion years old, and we have had reliable temperature measuring facilities over any significant proportion of its area for around a century - if that. Colour me unimpressed.
toddzrx
So how come you guys didn't post a chart of the sea ice extent at the South Pole? Oh, that's right: doesn't fit the narrative, does it?
mbee1
Apparently the WMO cannot look up any data set except Hadcrut4 or Giss which are surface data sets filled with plugged temperatures instead of actual measured temperatures. Giss is 66 percent fake, Hadcrut is similiar. The RSS data set shows May was tied with 2010 and colder than in 1998 a large El Nino year.