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Concentration of greenhouse gases reaches record high in 2013

Xinhua, September 11, 2014 Adjust font size:

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Tuesday said the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide.

According to WMO's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere in 2013 was 142 percent of the pre-industrial era (1750), while that of methane and nitrous oxide was 253 percent and 121 percent respectively.

The observations from WMO's Global Atmosphere Watch network showed that CO2 levels increased more between 2012 and 2013 than during any other year since 1984. Preliminary data indicated that this was possibly related to reduced CO2 uptake by the earth's biosphere in addition to steadily increasing CO2 emissions.

The bulletin noted that the oceans cushion the increase in CO2 that would otherwise occur in the atmosphere, but with far-reaching impacts.

"The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement.

"Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for many hundreds of years and in the ocean for even longer. Past, present and future CO2 emissions will have a cumulative impact on both global warming and ocean acidification. The laws of physics are non-negotiable," said Jarraud.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations -- and not emissions -- of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and the oceans.

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