Researchers at NOAA report that as of May 23, Antarctica has officially become the latest, and last place on Earth to pass the vaunted global warming threshold of 400 ppm.
“The far southern hemisphere was the last place on earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, said in an article published by NOAA Wednesday. “Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer.”
Some climate scientists have dubbed 400 ppm “the point of no return,” claiming once we reach that mark we will never go back under it. They also see 400 ppm as an issue because it is evidence of the continual increase of atmospheric CO2, which could lead to a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius.
“I feel very concerned because the last time atmospheric CO2 was this high, global sea levels were at least six meters higher.” Jason Box, ice researcher at the Geologic Survey of Denmark and Greenland, said in an interview with Climate Central in 2015.
While it is true Antarctica has passed the 400 ppm threshold, the fact that it’s the first time in four million years may be questionable.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses ice core data to get a look into past CO2 saturations, but some believe ice core data may not be wholly reliable.
“These ice cores are a foundation of the global warming hypothesis, but the foundation is groundless,” Zbigniew Jaworowski, former chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, told the National Post in an interview in May of 2007, “the IPCC has based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false.”
Another problem , according to Jaworowski, is that it doesn’t seem to corroborate historical events. The “Little Ice Age,” which lasted from 1300-1850 — and directly followed the Medieval Warm Period — doesn’t seem to be represented by the accompanying decrease in CO2.
“The Little Age just 500 years ago, for example. If the ice-core record was reliable, and CO2 levels reflected temperatures, why wouldn’t the ice-core data have shown CO2 levels to fall during the Little Ice Age?” Jaworowski asked in the National Post article.
Historically speaking, the Late Ordovician Period, which started about 488 million years ago and lasted for nearly 45 million years, was an Ice Age that had CO2 saturations about 10 times greater than today — 4400 ppm.
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